"After I left DIGEX, I sat down and thought, 'What are the weak points of the Internet? Where is its Achilles' heel?' Where it's breaking is how it handles large pieces of data."
Lots of people are betting on Humphrey again. He is smart, a visionary. He's also eccentric and charismatic.
"Doug can get up in front of groups of customers, groups of venture capitalists, and within 15 minutes he's got all of them saying, 'Please, take my money,' " says Doug Mohney, SkyCache's director of marketing.
Doug Humphrey was born in Hollywood, Florida. His father was an airline pilot, and the family moved often—to Georgia, to Virginia, then to Maryland.
Humphrey wound up at the University of Maryland but left without a degree. He later worked at GTE and then at Tandem before starting DIGEX.
Humphrey, who works an average of ten hours a day, says that in the past few years, "I lost most of the hobbies I had"--such as target shooting. He still likes to collect port and single-malt Scotch, attend science-fiction fairs, and read about space flight and other cosmic news.
His only indulgence after the DIGEX payday is to fly first-class, because the seats are roomier.
"Most entrepreneurs who started a company with nothing in their pockets are extremely unlikely to start chucking huge amounts of money around on very wasteful things," says Humphrey. "That would be a 180-degree change in character. You are who you are, and the presence of money doesn't change who you are."
He lives in a modest house in Laurel with his wife, Lisa Losito, whom he met at DIGEX, and Shiro, the bird, as well as two other feathered friends: Luna, another cockatoo, and Deadeye, a green-winged macaw.
During a recent photo session at their home, the birds were flying free. Luna kept landing on people's heads. Deadeye got spooked by the camera lights and flew into a dining-room window, shattering it. The bird was unharmed.
"Welcome to Friday at our home," Losito said at one point.